Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday urged his supporters to eat “the Khmer noodles of unity and solidarity” in response to members of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) gathering to eat the popular dish as a form of protest.
He also attacked Sam Rainsy, calling him a “dog” and the “son of a national traitor”.
Hun Sen was presiding over a graduation ceremony for more than 3,000 Royal University of Phnom Penh students on Monday on Koh Pich.
He said calling on members of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to eat Khmer noodles as CNRP supporters were doing was an “axe destroys thorn” strategy.
“Please don’t forget to eat Khmer noodles together. These are the Khmer noodles of unity and solidarity, not destructive noodles."
“And remember, all working groups, when you go into the community, please share money with the people for them to cook Khmer noodles and eat it with them on Sunday. Let’s see what they will say about this.
“They may say that we are acting like them. No . . . we do this because we don’t want the nation to break apart. I want unity for the nation. I don’t fear doing this. If it brings happiness, I will do it,” Hun Sen said.
Thirty-five members and supporters of the former CNRP in Battambang province have been summoned by the local court for questioning for allegedly showing support for party “acting president” Rainsy while gathering to eat Khmer noodles.
They were accused of violating the Supreme Court ruling which saw the party dissolved in late 2017.
Other supporters and members had since gathered to eat Khmer noodles, calling them “patriotic Khmer noodles”.
“I looked into why there have been these Khmer noodle gatherings. I thought there must be something behind it. Eating Khmer noodles must not be turned into something that breaks the nation apart. Khmer noodles belong to Cambodia,” he said.
However, he stressed that meeting to eat Khmer noodles must not be equated with gathering to form an illegal rebel network.
Hun Sen then turned his sights on Rainsy, calling him “a dog” and “the son of a national traitor” in response to the CNRP co-founder’s claim that Dy Vichea, the son of Hok Lundy and a son-in-law of Hun Sen, was looking for the opportunity to avenge his father’s death.
National Police chief Lundy died in a helicopter crash in 2008.
Hun Sen said he would engage with Rainsy until the end and vowed to stay in power until 2035.
“Now it has reached another level by saying I killed Hok Lundy, and Lundy’s son, who is now my son-in-law, is looking for ways to avenge his father, and with the support of [Minister of Interior] Sar Kheng."
“A dog, can you swear on this and be killed by lightning? You lot are not brave to make such an oath because you are wrong."
“You said Sar Kheng said this and that. Can you swear that Sar Kheng said something like that? If you dare to, make an oath on Facebook. If you dare to – I dare to, using my life and my family’s,” he said, calling on Rainsy to do the same.
Rainsy on Sunday wrote on Facebook alleging that Lundy’s death in 2008 was due to a bomb planted in his helicopter on the orders of Hun Sen.
He claimed Lundy was to be questioned by the World Federation of Trade Unions about the killing of prominent union leader Chea Vichea, who was shot dead in 2004.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said the summonses issued to members of the former CNRP in Battambang should be annulled regardless of the prime minister calling on his party’s members to imitate their actions.
He said Hun Sen’s instructions should be appreciated by CNRP supporters as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
“[Hun Sen and Rainsy] have now become intense political antagonists and personal enemies,” he said.
Political analyst Em Sovannara said Rainsy’s allegations over the death of Lundy had moved beyond politics and into a personal attack.
He said while Rainsy was waging psychological warfare on the ruling party, it could make the political situation in Cambodia tense.
“It is psychological warfare. Even though [Rainsy] is outside the country, he can still make members of the ruling party suspicious of each other."
“This is a strategy used by politicians to weaken their opponents. Doing this would bring Rainsy political gain should people trust [what he says],” Sovannara added.